MSI 890GXM-G65 Motherboard Review :: Features

03-26-2010 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
  • SATA 3.0
  • USB 3.0
  • Live Update 4
  • Lossless Content Protection
  • USB Safeguard
  • MSI Active Phase Switching
  • M-Flash
  • All-solid capacitors
  • SidePort memory
  • Easy OC Switch
  • DVI HDMI HTPC Ready
  • Live Update
  • Hybrid Crossfire ready
  • 140W CPU Ready

Part Number 890GXM-G65
Manufacturer MSI
Chipset 890GX
North Bridge 890GX
Socket Socket AM3
Memory speed DDR3 21331800/1333/1066/800
Processor Types Phenom II/Athlon II/ Sempron 100 Up to 6 core
Number of CPUs 1
QPI 5200MT/s
Memory Type DDR3
Memory Channels Double
Maximum Memory 16GB
External Graphics PCI Express x16 x1, PCI Express x8
IGP HD 4290
South Bridge SB 850
Audio 8-channel
IDE 133/100/66
SCSI None
SATA 3.0 GB/s
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10
LAN 10/100/1000 4 LAN Ports
Firewire IEEE 1394a
USB USB 2.0
BIOS AMIBIOS
Form Factor Micro-ATX

The 890GXM-G65 is MSIís first motherboard based upon the AMD 890GX chipset. This is AMDís latest and greatest motherboard chipset for their processors. The 890GXM-G65 motherboard has the 890GX and SB850 Northbridge/Southbridge combination. The 890GX has as its heart the new HD 4290 internal graphics chipset.

The HD 4290 has 40 Stream Processors, much like the ATI HD 4350 which is the lowest end of the video cards of the HD 4xxx series. As the name implies, this chipset supports DirectX 10.1 as do all HD 4xxx series chips and video cards do. DirectX 10.1 brings improved support for MRTs, anti-aliasing and parallel cube mapping. The HD 4290 is clocked at 700MHz for the graphics chip matching the HD 3300 found on the 790GX chipset.

The 890GXM-G65 chipset is fully compatible with the upcoming 6-core CPUs from AMD, the first chipset to fully support the new CPUs without a BIOS update. Earlier motherboard chipsets will also support the new CPUs with a BIOS update. The 890GX chipset supports 140W CPUs including all current Phenom II X4 CPUs and also supports the X3, the Athlon II and other AM3 CPUs. Note due to the 2 missing pins the Socket AM3 does not support Socket AM2+ CPUs.

To clear a bit of confusion on the MSI website the motherboard chipset does NOT support Hybrid SLI as this would require an NVIDIA chipset. Instead the motherboard supports Hybrid Crossfire which works in a similar manner. Hybrid Crossfire allows the user to install a HD 5450 or HD 4350 card to improve the integrated graphics performance by working together with the integrated graphics chip. The 890GXM-G65 has 128MB of SidePort memory that works as framebuffer memory.

AMDís 890GX chipset is the only one in the world to support SATA 6Gbps drives natively without using a bridge chip. This is useful for those having SSD drives on that interface but not for those having SATA HDDs as they hardly max out the bandwidth found on SATA 2 much less SATA 6GBps. The 890GXM-G65 supports USB 3.0 offering 10x the bandwidth found on the USB 2.0 interface, up to 5Gbps bandwidth and increasing the power fed to USB devices as well from 500mV-900mV.

Active Phase Switching dynamically controls the demand for power from the CPU, Memory and Chipset PWM. It saves power depending on the loading. In other words, more power is required for 3D gaming than is required to surf the Net. The board has LEDs which show when the board is on full load and when lower loading is in operation. Every motherboard manufacturer has a type of APS on their boards. MSI differentiates them by having control over the phases in Linux as well as Windows. The board has 4 power phases under the 140W CPU Ready heatsink.